Heavy Retrograde: A Rare Opportunity

We’re living in a very “retro” time.

No, I don’t mean that we are reviving the hottest trends of the 60s and 70s, or that vinyl record albums and PacMan are making a comeback. I’m talking about something else…

We are living in a very retrograde moment in time.

Let me clarify what I mean…

Four of the five “inner planets” of astrology (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) are retrograde at this moment. The only inner planet that could possibly be retrograde, but isn’t, is Venus. That’s pretty rare.

The Sun and Moon are never retrograde, but the nodes (Rahu and Ketu) are almost always retrograde, as they are now (Rahu and Ketu are also loosely called “planets” as well). So, four of the five inner planets that can be retrograde are retrograde, along with Rahu and Ketu. That’s a full six-pack of retrograde celestials!

Why should you care?

Since the inner planets and the nodes deal with individual astrology (while the outer planets relate more to generational trends and enduring social currents), the retrograde status of these six “celestials” is subtly re-directing everybody in a heavily inward direction right now, and internally reworking all of us. This concentrated retrograde activity cannot help but significantly affect each one of us.

How is it affecting you?

The effect of a planet’s retrograde motion is to reorient, re-align, and internalize the things that the planet is influencing from its current position.

For almost everyone I’ve met, the retrograde movement of planets is a puzzling feature of astrology. So, I like to use the following simple analogy to demystify the effects of planetary retrograde motion:

Imagine you are standing on a sidewalk, facing across the street to the opposite sidewalk. Imagine also that the people you see walking along the adjacent sidewalk are all traveling in one direction, say, from your right to your left. Then, imagine that one of them stops, turns around, and begins walking back the same way he had just come. He passes momentarily out of view to your right, and then reappears traveling again along his original path until he finally passes out of view on your left.

To understand the analogy, all we need to do is imagine the general reasons why our pedestrian might have traversed the sidewalk in that way. Why would he have stopped and doubled-back on his path?

Here is a sampling of possible reasons:

1) He was reconsidering or returning to some matter—whether to repair something, complete something left unfinished, or to remove something impeding his efforts.

2) He changed his plan or was rethinking his original intent.

3) He needed to better prepare or re-equip himself for his intended goal.

4) He needed to find help, do research, or secure reinforcements.

5) He had to contact an instrumental person or retrieve something instrumental to his goal.

All of the above reasons serve to portray the nature of retrograde motion and the effects of retrograde planets. And we can imagine each of these as a valid reason for someone to behave as our pedestrian did. When planets go retrograde, we tend to find such reasons to redirect our own course. In fact, the mind-space that results in the above 5 reasons for changing course is a retrograde mind-space. If you can put yourself in our zigzagging side-walker’s shoes, then you already intuitively understand the nature and effects of retrograde planetary motion.

Retrograde activity is not mysterious at all, as it turns out, because it corresponds to a frame of mind with which we all are very familiar.

I’ll elaborate just a bit, for those who might need more clarification. When a planet goes retrograde, our minds take on more of a retrograde orientation in the areas governed by that planet (e.g. when Mercury goes retrograde, our thinking goes retrograde around our communication, which is why communication is not so straight-forward during those intervals). The more planets that are retrograde, the more extensive is our retrograde head-space. Of course, outer events can trigger or necessitate this mental orientation, but either way, we’ll temporarily end up with a somewhat retrograde mind.

“Re” is for retrograde.

Notice how many of the key terms in our above reasons are “re-“ words (reconsidering, returning, repair, remove, rethinking, re-equip, research, reinforcement, retrieve). Retrograde effects tend to involve “re-” words.

For a “rough and ready” rule of thumb, if you want to predict how a planet’s retrograde motion will affect you, figure out what areas of your life the planet affects from its current sign, and then apply a lot of “re-“ words to those areas. Jupiter retrograde in your 10th house (the house that affects career) will give you opportunities to re-new or re-direct your career trajectory. Saturn retrograde in your 4th house (the house that affects our home and our roots, inter alia) will force you to repair or re-think your living situation, or compel you to revisit or re-evaluate your family ties.

In retrograde periods, we are more removed from, and more abstractly focused on, the results we seek. This is why our plans seem to get “put on hold” in those periods.

Look again at the above 5 examples of the possible reasons why our pedestrian would change course as he did. Notice how each reason implies that our side-walker was taking stock of his situation. His change of direction illustrated that he was reflecting on his course (or on his progress along his course).

Here’s the analogy, in a nutshell: retrograde motion makes us take stock, reflect, and act thoughtfully upon our resulting insights. Incidentally, our consequent actions will eventually bear fruit when the planets revert back to direct motion (which is portrayed in our sidewalk analogy when our pedestrian returns on our right along his original path and disappears out of view on our left). Retrograde periods are a “waiting game” of sorts.



This is a good moment in time for each of us to deeply introspect and take an honest personal inventory. It’s an unusual opportunity to successfully tackle your closets (and any skeletons therein), your attics and basements (with all the junk and baggage you’ve been meaning to clear out), and any important blueprints that need substantive revision. So take advantage of this rare chance to be highly effective and successful in such efforts! It’s really in the flow right now.

Jupiter is retrograde until May 9th, Mercury until May 22nd, Mars until June 29th, and Saturn until August 13th. See what you notice when each successive planet goes direct, and tell us about it in a comment below…!

And as always…

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16 thoughts on “Heavy Retrograde: A Rare Opportunity”

    1. Pues, gracias a ti, Tarini Ma! Me alegro que te encanto el articulo!
      Saludos de nuestra parte a tu esposo tambien!
      Nos vemos muy pronto, me imagino (ustedes vengan con La Madre, verdad?)…

  1. I look forward to every post, and so appreciate the clarity and digestability of your explanations. Thank you!!!

  2. Another major theme of Retrograde planets, which is vital to remember, is that they are also closer to the Earth than at any other time, and therefore appear larger.

    That’s why Vedic astrology sees Retrograde planets as strong, and even having an exaggerated influence (I.e. their themes are amplified).

    A transiting benefic that is retrograde can create powerful benefits in a person’s life, especially on the themes of the houses it aspects and rules.

    My Vedic Guru, Hart De Fouw, also teaches that, for example, if your Mercury is strong natally, it won’t be affected much by the retrogradation of Mercury, but if it is weak natally, it will be very affected thereby.

  3. This is what I’ve been looking for – a way to track my experiences with the retrogrades. My mom passed away in January and I entered into some pretty intense anxiety and panic in mid March. As I look back, Saturn turned retrograde at the end of March, which is when it became quite bad. I’m going to sell her house, which is also my childhood home, so I almost listed it on May 1st, but backed out due to the intense panic. Mercury was retrograde at the time, so it makes sense it was not the right time. Just as Jupiter went direct – the day after actually, I made the decision to list the house at the end of May, which works out to when Mercury goes direct, which tells me I’ll
    stick with this agreement, As for this whole anxiety thing, I’m hoping it will get easier as I complete this probate and house selling process. The house sale should be complete by the end of June, which coincides with Mars going direct. I’m hoping the anxiety will turn around then as well. I’m an Aries, so Mars is my ruler. I also have Scorpio on the my 4th house, so Mars retrograde into that house makes a lot of sense, and it turning direct in that house shows me the moving forward out of that place. Saturn direct in August will be helpful as well, but I’m counting on feeling better way before then. I’ll keep you posted as to what happens when, but it seems to me the retrogrades really are great timers.

    1. I’m so glad that you bothered to correlate the details of your life with the timeline of the retrograde planets, and that you took the time to share your observations here! You are your own living proof that a change in planetary direction marks a milestone in the unfoldment of our lives.

      An additional note: If Scorpio is your fourth house in the *vedic* system, then you are also Leo rising (but, if you’re referring to the Western system, then you could be either Cancer, Leo, or Virgo rising, depending on where your fourth house cusps fall in the zodiac). Saturn, in Scorpio, is squaring Leo right now, and Saturn’s retrograde motion just intensifies the squeeze it is exerting on Leo. Also, some Vedic astrologers say that Mars squares backwards when it’s retrograde, which would mean that it is double-teaming your ascendant along with Saturn (when direct, Mars is not thought to square backwards with full strength in Vedic astrology). In other words, anyone with Leo arising is probably feeling more-than-normal levels of internal pressure and/or anxiety at the moment. There may or may not be other factors in your chart that would exacerbate the effect as well.

      I applaud and admire your optimism about feeling better soon. Astrology cannot fully dictate how we perceive and interpret our circumstances. So, you are right to commit to reaching a more positive space!

      And, yes, please do keep us posted on what transpires from here!

      As always, I’m available via email, should you feel any need for consultation 🙂

      1. An additional factor worth noting too, Barb, is that Rahu (the south node) is currently transiting through Leo. This means that all of the “malefic” planets are influencing Leo simultaneously at the moment–all the more reason why someone with Leo rising, or say, Leo moon, would be feeling strain or anxiety at present. The good news, though, is that Jupiter is also in Leo, keeping things from getting too out of hand. Jupiter’s benevolence is hard to overestimate 🙂

        1. …and, by the way, my next blog post will be about how the sign of Leo is being affected by the current astrology, as described above. You will see that post in the next few days… 🙂

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